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Comment: Steve Ballmer bows out of CES with a whimper

David Ludlow
10 Jan 2012
Steve Ballmer
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Says nothing of the remotest bit of interest

With the news that Microsoft and Steve Ballmer would be making this keynote their final one of CES, stepping down from the podium next year, one question came to mind: why couldn't Ballmer have stopped last year?

It started with a rather embarrassing exchange where Ballmer was presented with a noticeboard covered in images highlighting the best bits of Microsoft at CES, then slowly descended into a massive advert for the company.

In previous years the company has taken the time to announce something new, but this year we learnt nothing. As Ryan Seacrest (of American Idol fame) took the stage, Ballmer was happy to sit back and let a plethora of Microsoft employees tell us things we already know.

First, there was a walk-through of Windows Phone 7, showing its amazing features, such as the ability to use a search engine to find stuff on the internet. Ground-breaking, we know.

With a Windows 8 segment we thought we might learn something new, but that wasn't to be. All we got was a walkthrough of all the features that have already been announced and the chance to see a bunch of laptops that had already been launched.

As the action cut back to Ballmer, we thought things couldn't possibly get any worse.

Sadly, Ballmer then proceeded to tell Ryan Seacrest how good Windows 7 was and how many thousands of new Windows 7 users there would be there by the end of the keynote, using the embarrassing 'street' language of a dad at a school disco: "That's pretty good dude, that's pretty good dude."

Then came a bizarre interlude as the Tweet Choir took the stage and proceeded to demonstrate the worst entertainment the world has seen since R-Patz was allowed to call himself and actor and appear in films with all the wit, grace and presence of a cardboard cut-out of himself.

Moving to see all of the voice recognition features that are already in Kinect was almost a blessed relief.

The point of all this nonsense? The Metro interface will be used in everything Microsoft does (which we already know) and that Windows 8 really is Microsoft's big thing to focus on (we also guessed this).

Still, there was still time to end on a low, as Ballmer claimed that "one plus one really does equal three" with Metro and Windows 8, which of course it doesn't. Then he relived his famous 'developers' moment with, "Metro, Metro, Metro and, of course, Windows, Windows, Windows." Shame the audience was thinking, "Boring, Boring, Boring."

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